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Government officials in Montserrat and in Nicaragua spent the first week of December trying to usher residents out of their homes and away from simmering volcanoes in each of those nations. Some people cooperated, others decided to take their chances.

On the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, about 3,500 people were ordered to vacate their homes for the second time in three months, as a lava dome in the Chances Peak volcano grew and threatened to erupt. In Leon, Nicaragua, at least a third of the 12,000 people ordered to evacuate their homes refused, choosing to protect their homes from looters rather than flee the gurgling Cerro Negro. The Nicaraguan volcano spewed ash and lava 900 m into the air on Dec. 2; the eruption was visible from Managua, 120 km to the southeast.